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Asthma ControlAsthma sufferers should invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter that will mechanically remove irritants from the air without creating ozone. Some non-HEPA devices work by reversing the charge of particles in the air but don't actually remove the particles. If you have a non-HEPA filter, be sure to dust and vacuum often to get those deactivated particles out of the room. Also consider upgrading to a HEPA model because they don't produce ozone, which is a lung irritant.
Reducing Second-Hand SmokeWhile no device can completely remove the risks of second-hand smoke, a HEPA purifier can at least filter out the particles that are present in the smoke. If you are forced to live or work around smokers, a HEPA filter will at least mitigate your health risk.
Curbing Mold SporesThe standard of efficiency for true HEPA filters is that they must capture a minimum of 99.97% of pollutants at 0.3 microns. Mold spores range from one to five microns in size, so a HEPA filter should capture virtually all of the mold spores within its service range. Capturing airborne spores means the filter will protect you from inhaling them and might slow the mold's reproduction, but it will not eliminate mold from your home. You will still need to work on removing the mold and correcting the conditions that allowed it to grow.
Alleviate Multiple Chemical SensitivityPeople with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) are plagued by reactions to a wide variety of household chemicals and odors. Air purifiers designed specifically for MCS therapy have a high volume of carbon to help them absorb more chemicals, odors, and gases from the air. MCS filters are also manufactured differently, using organic cotton for filtration and omitting glue and other solvents from the manufacturing process so they don't emit toxins that might cause more symptoms.
Air purifiers can be helpful in fighting allergies, asthma, second-hand smoke, mold spores, and MCS, but they have limitations. Portable units have a limited range, some purifiers emit ozone, and even the best HEPA filter can't remove all toxins or gases from the air. Research carefully before you invest in a purifier so you can be sure you're getting the one that's right for you.